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Telling your child that they have PDA
  • 7974
    Posts: 4
    Hi Everyone
    I’m new on this site and have an 8 year old son who cut a very long story short and a 3 year CAMHS assessment we have eventually reached a diagnosis of ASD with a PDA profile.
    I would like to ask for advice about how parents explained it to their kids? I’m cautious about what to say to him, I don’t want him to feel like he’s different to everyone although he’s probably got some awareness of this already, I know honesty is the best way, just want to get it right and make him feel supported and loved.any advice appreciated.
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,168
    Firstly, welcome to the forum. I think everyone feels differently about how to tell their child. We were lucky really as our daughter was so violent and frustrated that she knew she was different to her peers and wanted to know why even at age 6.

    We used the words PDA and explained that some people may refer to this as autism and it just means her brain works in a slightly different way to her friends, and she needs more time to understand things which is why she can have times when things feel tricky. Three years on and it’s openly discussed when raised by our daughter as she’s trying to understand more about herself, but again we keep it as simple and factual as possible.

    Personally I think simply is best but be prepared to answer questions that are thrown at you. Our daughter wanted to know if she was naughty and if her sister could catch it!

    This book is good as a basis for discussion to: ‘Can I tell you about pathological demand avoidance syndrome?' by Ruth Fidler & Phil Christie (age 7+)

    Hope this helps.
  • 7974
    Posts: 4
    Thanks I’ll look at getting the book, I just want to handle it in the right way, we also have had extreme violence and he did ask me a few months ago what Autism is. I don’t know where he heard it as I’ve always been careful at what I discuss within earshot of him! I told him just sometimes peoples brains are different and they really don’t like things which he accepted.
    I feel a bit sad about getting the diagnosis even though for the past year at least I’ve known that he has PDA , he’s in main stream school at the moment and they put the PDA strategies in place a few months ago (at my request)and they made a huge difference to him with regards school refusal.
    My partner doesn’t want me to say anything at all to him which I don’t think is the right thing to do at all, think it’s best to be honest with him.
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,168
    Many people experience mixed emotions after receiving a diagnosis even when it’s expected. We certainly grieved for the life we thought we were going to have, but now I appreciate the special qualities my daughter has so much more!

    Definitely go with what you’re comfortable with, and remember children are often far more resilient and matter of fact about these things than we expect.

    I hope it goes well.

  • I have seen that many people experience mixed emotions after receiving a diagnosis even when it’s expected. According to my experience I think everyone feels differently about how to tell their child, I am very lucky as my son was so violent and frustrated that he knew he was different to his peers and wanted to know why even at age 7.

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